Getting protein levels on your grain used to be cumbersome. It involved a trip to the local grain elevator or sometimes weeks of waiting for results after sending samples into the laboratory.
This was far too slow, especially for growers who need these specs immediately to help them with storage and crop segregation decisions during harvest.
There are now numerous grain protein testers on the market, but when it comes to portability the Finnish-built GrainSense stands out.
“The farmer can take a small representative sample and put it in the machine and the test will run protein content, carbohydrate content, oil content and also moisture. It will do all those four parameters for oats, canola, barley and wheat,” said Matin Ghazvini of Prairie Grain Analyzer (PGA) which owns the Canadian distributors rights for GrainSense.
GrainSense comes with an app and the ability to store information, including the location of where the test was conducted, on cloud-based servers.
“It naturally saves it, so wherever you do the testing it will save that spot with those parameters,” Ghazvini said.
“Any time you want to know where your moistures (are) at or where the protein is at, you can take it with you. It’s super small and comes with a nice bag that makes it very portable, and it’s battery operated.”
She said the biggest thing the GrainSense has going for it is it cost $6,000, which is the cheapest protein sensor on the market.
“There are two buttons on the front and then a centre button that is your select. You just scroll through the four crops, select it, and then all you have to do is take a teaspoon, which is about five grams of crop, put it into the hopper, close it and press OK and it will do the test for you. It takes about a minute to do the whole test,” Ghazvini said.
She said the farmer owns the rights to their data stored in the GrainSense cloud, and that users can delete it any time they want.
She said growers often use GrainSense to help them segregate their crops to help them with sales, and livestock producers use it to get a better understanding of how much protein they are feeding.